Oliver, Zoey, and Quinn are now 15 months old (and some change). Of course they are ridiculously cute and funny about 75% of the time, and the other 25% they are throwing what I like to call “micro-tantrums”, which are full-blown tantrums that only last for a minute or so before we can be successfully distracted with a toy or food. We’ve had a few “macro-tantrums” which involve back-arching, head-banging on the floor, and much gnashing of teeth, but thankfully those are still pretty rare. Tantrum-inducing behavior usually involves being the victim of theft, trying to stack blocks or rings and THEY JUST WON’T STAY WHERE I PUT THEM, wanting to get on the couch but Mom won’t let me, wanting to use Mom’s iPhone as a teething ring, having to get dressed, having to get diaper changed, getting woken up early because one of the other two are crying, etc. Being one is hard. Things don’t make sense, I want stuff that I can’t have ALL the time for no good reason and there are always these other little people around taking the stuff that I CAN have.
Even though the ups and downs of toddler mood-swings can be stressful and exhausting, we do have way more hills than we have valleys. Zoey is a pretty pro walker now. She started taking steps on her own a few weeks after their first birthday and wanted to practice walking all the time. She got good at falling—which is essential to learn how to walk—and constantly did laps around the living room, pulling up on the chair at one end and making it as far as she could before falling down, then going back to her starting position and doing it again, her pudgy little baby belly sticking out like its leading her to her destination. Zoey takes such delight in being able to walk; she laughs and shrieks and squeals and looks at us to make sure we see how much fun she’s having. Her favorite game is going into the corner of the entry way and poking her head around the corner to play peekaboo with whoever is sitting on the other side. Slowly a big flirty smile spreads across her face and she tilts her head so far to the side that she just about falls over. When we say “Peekaboo!” she shrieks and turns around, taking a few steps in a circle back to the corner so she can start the game all over again. Her hair is getting long and is a crazy mess of curls in the back that stick out on the sides of her ears. Just this week she’s started flapping her arms dramatically up and down as she walks around the house. Maybe she thinks flying is her next milestone.
Once Zoey became pretty steady on her feet Oliver decided he better stop fooling around and focus on this walking thing. Its just been a week or so that he’s been walking as much as crawling, instead of saving walking as a way to entertain the grown-ups. His technique is something special to see, as it reminds us of a man previously bound to a wheelchair who has just been healed and “filled with the Spirit”. Complete with eyes closed and arms up to the sky. Sadly, as he is becoming a more practiced biped he’s losing some of his style. His favorite thing to do with his new-found skill is to stand straight up from the ground with a big ball in his hands, raise it above his head and throw it as hard as he can to the ground while he grunts WOOAGGHH! Yep, he’s a boy.
Quinn is still in the practice stages of walking, but she did finally start crawling properly on her hands and knees (as opposed to the legless soldier drag) after their first birthday. She will take a few steps to Mom or Dad, but she gets SO excited about standing on her own for just a second that she practically throws herself in a fit of ecstatic joy into our laps. When she gets this excited she jumps and hyperventilates so much that she can’t keep her legs locked enough to stay vertical for more than a step or two. We’ve got to figure out a way to make walking more dull for this silly girl.
Other than perfecting our walking skills, we have been learning a lot of words. Everyone is starting to understand a lot and will point to things or gesture in a way that shows they know what we’re talking about, and they are definitely understanding “commands” though they are very choosy in which ones they apply. The other day I told Oliver we need to change his shirt and he looks down and starts pulling at his shirt. Amazing! I thought. Later when I told him to stop licking the trashcan he didn’t even look up.
Quinn is our quietest baby, though I know she is very aware of what is being said around her. She has just always been a keen observer who thinks a lot about everything and is slower to act. Her very first word was “duck” which happened well before their first birthday, though I don’t remember exactly when. She only associates “duck” with a yellow rubber ducky toy though and has no idea what that brown feathery thing is that we see at the park. She points at the door and shouts “Dada!” when Justin gets home from work. Miss Curly Q has recently developed an obsession with shoes and will say “sshh!” while she holds one up to me and lifts her foot off the ground. This week it has been quite necessary for Quinn to wear at least one shoe all day. She occasionally says cheese (chee), which is usually done in a whisper, as well as dog and Zozo for Zoey from time to time.
Oliver is our most verbal of the three, and probably has over a dozen different words that he uses pretty regularly. Almost everything he says is pronounced with mainly the first sound of the word, but even for letters that start with the same letter, he says them in subtly different ways. Dog was his first word, followed by a bunch of other D-words…duck, dada, done, down. His favorite word now of course is ball. Everything is a ball. We are always looking for our ball, always throwing our ball, or bouncing our mouth on it and saying “baw baw baw baw baw”. Ollie went grocery shopping with me last week and I made the mistake of handing him an orange and calling it a ball. I stepped away from the cart to get something and all of a sudden felt the orange peg me in the leg. Kid has good aim. Ball happened to be Justin’s first word as well and there is a family picture floating around somewhere of him as an infant surrounded by balls of all sizes and colors. It must be in his blood. Oliver also says mama, cheese (chee), night night, snack (naa), milk (moe), block (bah), book, banana (nana), bubbles, bye bye (buh baaah) and woah (like when he throws a ball really far and is amazed by his own strength). Lately he’s been babbling in ways that sound like he knows exactly what he’s trying to say, but its all still gibberish to us. It’s so fun to see his little mind working as he furrows his brow and looks so serious when he’s trying to say something. I’m not sure if it counts as a word, but when we were teaching them to blow kisses we made exaggerated “Muaaah!” sounds that Oliver now makes when he gives kisses.
Zoey certainly makes a lot of noise no matter how many words she knows. She’s our “life of the party” girl and always squealing and laughing about something. Her first word was also duck, thanks to a fun game with rubber duckies that grandma played with them. For awhile there all she would say is dog, except the way she said it “Dohb” is the cutest thing in the world. Dohb dohb dohb is all we would hear from her all day. She’s kind of over that now, which is a little sad. She also says dada, mama, and night night.
For so long our babies were not interested at all in any of their lovey cuddly things like bears and blankets and that kind of thing, but in the last few weeks they have started to love their animals and give them big hugs and kisses with their eyes closed and finally sleeping with blankets. When I put them in bed I love seeing them hug their loves so tight while they look up at me with sleepy little eyes. Oliver is the only one of the three who will consistently give Mama and Daddy kisses when we ask (and sometimes when we don’t), but you have to catch Zoey and Quinn in the right mood to get a kiss from them. I have only gotten three kisses total from Zoey ever. I hope she’s as reserved with her kisses when it comes to boys in fifteen years. Quinn is more likely to acquiesce to our requests for kisses but she is really hesitant to let Justin’s beard near her lips and usually turns her head, which has made him contemplate actually shaving it off for the first time in a year (the last time he did it was when they were newborns because he didn’t want to scratch them).
The very best new thing that they have all started to do though is to give each other hugs and kisses. When they’re sitting near each other if I say “Oliver, can you give Quinn a hug?” he leans over and wraps his arms around her head and gives her a big sloppy kiss while she giggles. Zoey fell down the other day and bonked her head on the floor and started crying hard, and while I was cuddling her Oliver walked over and put his arms around both of us and laid his head down on Zoey’s. We have so many happy moments but it’s that in particular, seeing these little people loving each other so genuinely, that really highlights what a blessing it is to have multiples. They have spent every moment of their existence together, in the womb and out. There are so many times a day that I think, “It would be so much easier to have one at a time, or even two,” or “I wish we could just do a quick grocery store run,” or “I wish I could go by myself with a baby to the pool,”…anything that my friends with one baby can do and I can’t because the logistics just don’t work when there are three babies to keep after…but at the end of the day, what we have is so special and beautiful and we would be missing out on so much joy if we didn’t have each of these precious babies.